Latin publication

W.Wuster w.wuster at BANGOR.AC.UK
Mon Feb 8 11:40:54 CST 1999

On Mon, 1 Mar 1999, Mark Garland wrote:

> There seems to be an assumption that plant taxonomists form a linguistic
> community held together by Latin (I think Stearn says this in Botanical
> Latin).  If they did once, they don't now.  And they *will* find a way to
> communicate their discoveries if they use modern languages.  I don't even
> think you will have to mandate any particular language.  I'll just point =
> zoology again.  Are zoological taxonomists lost in a Babel of incomprehen=

"Lost in a Babel of incomprehension" would be an exageration. However,
several points made previously (I believe by Joseph Lafferiere,
apologies if I am wrong) are valid:

- Zoological descriptions need only be in one language, and that means
*any* language. This means that one can easily be confronted by a valid
description in Thai (I have had to deal with that), Khirgizyan,
Yanomamo, or, for that matter, Klingon. Suggestions to restrict language
to one using the Latin Alphabet for the new, 4th edition of the ICZN
were rejected - and, in any case, having a description in Icelandic
(apologies to Dr.  Melot...) will probably not be all that much more
helpful than having it in Russian.

- "Unintentional" descriptions continue to happen - not commonly, but
they do. In reptiles (my field), this occasionally happens in the
journals aimed at reptile pet keepers (they also publish new
descriptions meant to be new descriptions, unfortunately).

- Although the Zoo Code does require a diagnosis, this requirememtn is
generally intepreted rather loosely.=20

The new edition of the ZooCode will go some way towards resolving some
of these problems, but the use of *any* *single* language will no doubt
continue to cause problems. As always, I cannot see a single solution
that would not be objected to someone on some grounds.=20

Wolfgang W=FCster
School of Biological Sciences, University of Wales, Bangor, UK
e-mail: w.wuster at   WWW:

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